Before a judge will issue a final decree of adoption, you’ll need to make sure all post-placement requirements are met. Which steps you must follow will depend on your individual adoption situation, but you’ll likely need to meet the following criteria:
Termination of Parental Rights: Before you can adopt a child, both of his or her birth parents must have their rights terminated. This could mean that they voluntarily consent to their child’s adoption and relinquish their parental rights, or it could mean that a judge legally terminates their rights in the best interests of the child. In Nevada, a child’s birth mother cannot consent to adoption until 72 hours or more have passed after the child’s birth.
Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) Clearance: If your child was adopted across state lines, you must comply with all ICPC regulations before bringing him or her home to Nevada. ICPC was established in 1960 to ensure all adoptions completed across state borders are both ethical and legal.
Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) Clearance: ICWA was enacted in 1978 to protect Native American tribes and families. Any adoption involving a child who has Indian heritage from a federally recognized tribe will be required to meet ICWA guidelines.
Post-Placement Visits: In Nevada, an adoption agency is required to make at least one post-placement home visit per month until an adoption is finalized. If the adopted child has special needs, a home visit must be made each week during the first month of placement. During these home visits, a social worker will help the adoptive parents to develop skills or seek any resources to help them meet the child’s needs.
Once all post-placement requirements have been met, it’s time for the adoption finalization hearing.
Many adoptive families await their adoption finalization hearing with excitement. It’s the day your child becomes legally and officially yours! Here’s what you can expect to happen at a Nevada adoption finalization hearing:
You will attend the hearing with your child, your adoption attorney and potentially your social worker. After the judge swears you in, your attorney will have you introduce yourselves and testify that the adoption should take place.
After you’ve confirmed that you intend to provide the child with a permanent and loving home, the judge may ask you some easy, friendly questions. (Now is also a good time to get a photo to document the day!)
The judge will sign the final decree of adoption, and your child will be legally yours. A new birth certificate that names you as the “natural parents” will be issued for your child and sent to you, as well as a social security card.
Please remember that this process applies specifically to children adopted within the United States. If you adopted your child internationally, you may need to readopt your child in order to obtain a U.S. birth certificate.
For more information about how to finalize or pursue a Nevada adoption, call 1-800-ADOPTION, or request free information here.
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